The Wedding

simon-and-kayliegh

After months of planning and stressing Eccles Hall has now returned to some sort of normality.

Weddings are a fantastic way of bringing families and friends together for a day of making memories that will last a lifetime. The wedding in question was my son Simon and his partner Kayleigh’s and what a wedding it was.

It only took Lady Ann twelve months to buy two hats, three pairs of shoes and two wedding suits to make sure she was happy with the results. With the Hairdresser calling in early to help her look fantastic it was left to me to do the only thing I know I can get right, a trip out for bacon sandwiches.

Now the only rule that Lady Ann insisted on was that I had to turn my phone off and not take any photographs on the day, (I only managed two tweets of the whole day). I wasn’t breaking that rule only because retribution comes hard and fast in our house.

It is difficult being the family of the groom because here in England quite rightly it is the Brides day and she calls the shots and may I say she did a great job. She did something I have never managed to do and that is to get me and my family all together, on time and in one place and that is no mean achievement its almost like shepherding cats.

I would think Kayleigh’s father wasn’t quite as calm, he had to share his house with seven women getting ready and I can only imagine what pandamonium ensued in his home that morning.

The service was brilliant and with the help of a great vicar who was most entertaining, a great reading by Kayleigh’s mother Janet all went without a hitch. Watching the happy couple smiling at each other whilst making their vows is something I will remember always. The rest of the day though is another story so it is down to our resident ninja photographer to remind us of all the bits we can’t remember. Once we have some photographs I will post them up.

The only other thing I remember clearly was the best mans speech which was a brilliant rollercoaster of a ride without embarrassing anyone and having everyone in stitches.

It was great meeting both family and friends at the reception and made for a brilliant party. All that remains for me to say is I am a very lucky person who is surrounded by an even bigger circle of friends than I had before and at my age you can’t have to many friends.

So whilst the happy couple are basking in the sun on honeymoon all that is left for us to do is return our suits, collect up all the presents and the remains of the biggest wedding cake I have ever seen and try and get some normality back into everyday life.

Hooray a time to celebrate

Norfolk Broads

Hooray a time to celebrate, (no not the Birth of Prince George). Its the fact I have made it to my annual summer holiday in one piece and with no bits having fallen of since the last one, apart from one tooth that broke earlier in the year but Im not counting that because its one I didn’t use that often.

Now Summer holidays at Eccles towers is a bit of a hit and miss affair due to Ann’s continuing health issues, having cancelled at least two holidays in the past five years getting insurance is a challenge.

So we now tend to go when she is well and only travel to mainland Europe, so fingers crossed we may actually get going this year. With that in mind we have organised a few days in Norfolk next week with friends.

Now I know that going away with friends can be a risky business in the fact that you may not return quite as close, but we have done this before and we have a great time. Now I know Norfolk has a reputation for being a bit dull, but I love it, I think its all to do with the big skies and the light which seems a little brighter than here in Saddleworth. But then again apart from the last three weeks I can’t remember seeing that much blue sky for so long.

So why am I celebrating arriving at this event with such enthusiasm. Its quite simple really, it’s been a tough year, people who I have worked with for years have decided that retirement has become a reality and other people have left to pursue careers in other sectors.

Now I am old enough to remember going through these types of changes in my working life several times over the years and it can be very waring on the nerves, even if its only the fact that some very nice and highly experienced people leave your circle of support.

To all these people I wish them all the best for the future and that they have a long and happy retirement.

That is all but one of my friends who we happen to be going away with. On his first day of retirement he stood on his balcony in his dressing gown and a cup of coffee in hand waving to all us working types as we left for work. If I could have driven across the garden to were he was I would have run him over.

This is the man who texted me the memorable message “Sat here overlooking the hills around Sienna watching the swifts darting in and out of the Olive groves drinking very nice Italian Wine.” whilst I was on the shoot from hell which did little to lift my mood.

He was quite taken back when I texted back “F**k off!”.

These friends however are brilliant company, They are funny, smart and have a sense of adventure that would leave a thirty something couple gasping for breath. So with that in mind I think I deserve a rest so I can do it all again next year.

I hope you all get a great summer break, even if its only to prepare you for Christmas!

Taking Stock at the End of the Year

Mince-pies-angels

I don’t know about you but last time I blinked it was Easter and now I have just returned from my grand daughters school nativity and I am looking at the impending Christmas celebrations in a state of shell shock. 

As another year grows to a close if you are like me you will mentally taking stock of what has happened through the past year and how you have faired in the grand scheme of things.

So how do you judge how well or otherwise you have done. I suppose its all down to your own personal experience. Now I am a fairly positive individual, I am in the cup half full brigade opposed to the keeping up with the neighbors gang so my outlook is obviously coloured by this.

Now at my age the first thing on the list in your health, without it your life becomes instantly more complicated, and your time is consumed by waiting in crowded hospitals with people who could infect you with the black death at any given moment. This time last year I was recovering from what everyone thought was a heart attack. It wasn’t and I am still here and even more of a bonus I now know I have a perfectly healthy heart so I can now eat butter again for the first time in a decade.

So the next thing on the list is my Family. My long suffering wife who has had serious health problems in the past appears to be recovering. I know this because she is showing signs that her lust for life has returned and has made this year very special, its as though I have the woman I first met back in my life and that is priceless.

During the past twelve months my offspring have both found partners who will put up with them and there foibles and who are blissfully happy. I know this because the phone has stopped ringing quite as often. The only drawback to this scenario is that the number for Christmas dinner has doubled and the presents under the tree mean I cannot see the television without sitting up straight in my chair.

Unfortuately this year saw the passing of my cousin Jennifer who passed away a few weeks ago and my thoughts are with her family at this time, I find myself feeling a little guilty because I should have taken the time to keep in touch whilst I had the chance.

Friends are the next on my list, this year has been an exceptional year, I am lucky to have friends who always know when to turn up just when you need dusting off and leave when they think you can stand on your own two feet again. More importantly I haven’t lost any or been to a funeral which is always a bonus. It appears that living through the sixties and seventies was very detrimental to your health and longevety. 

The last thing on my list is my job. I am one of the lucky ones in life, I love what I do, I suppose my wife is right when she says I haven’t done a days work in my life, and I hate to admit it but I think she is right. The great thing about my job is the people I meet and try to help deliver various projects. From students who are at the start of there chosen career through to business men who need a hand in trying to understand the brave new digital world in which they have to exist. 

The most rewarding part of my role is helping community groups who are trying to improve were they live with very little in the way of resources, these people are the true heroes of modern society, people who share the little they have to help the communities they live in. 

So back to my opening premiss, How do you judge how well are you doing? It’s very simple, as long as you can cover your bills, have your health and are surrounded by people who love and care for you, you are better off that at least half the planet. 

According to my wife, if you add someone to do the ironing, copious amounts of Mince Pies and Horlicks into the mix life doesn’ t get any better. So all that remains for me to say is I hope that you and your families have a merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.